"Does Immigration Harm Working Americans?" by @DavidFrum via @TheAtlantic http://t.co/CSY2JYnN2o SPOILER: Yes
— Mark Krikorian (@MarkSKrikorian) January 5, 2015
Although we've criticized David Frum for many kinds of wrongheadedness about foreign policy and black crime, he's always had a clear idea of what's going on with immigration. In the Atlantic, he writes
Economic popularizers passionately deny that immigration causes wage declines and job displacement. From the point of view of several actual economists, however, these reassurances are so much uninformed propaganda. As the technical economists understand, wage cuts and job displacement are the exact and only ways that immigration confers any benefits on native workers at all. It is wage decline and job displacement that drives natives to shift to higher-paid sectors. No wage cuts, no job displacement. No jobs displaced, no benefit to natives. Here’s Peri saying just that: "Large inflows of less educated immigrants may reduce wages paid to comparably-educated, native-born workers. However, if less educated foreign- and native-born workers specialize in different production tasks, because of different abilities, immigration will cause natives to reallocate their task supply, thereby reducing downward wage pressure.”Emphasis added. This, of course, is exactly what Peter Brimelow said in Alien Nation, almost 20 years ago.
When economists minimize the impact of immigration on wages, they aren’t denying that immigration pushes wages down in the jobs that immigrants take. They concede that immigration does do that. They celebrate that immigration does that. Instead, they join their celebration of immigration’s wage-cutting effects with a prediction about the way that the natives will respond.
Frum knows that—he gave Alien Nation a good review in Canada's Financial Post, which was used as a blurb on the paperback edition:
"Don't be misled by the verbal pyrotechnics: Brimelow presents his case with a prosecutor's thoroughness. ... No reformer can avoid grappling with the formidable work of Peter Brimelow."Yes, but he may not want to acknowledge grappling with it. Read the article and you'll see what I mean.